September 23, 2005

The Three New Shows You Need to Watch

I’ve always liked the various network premier weeks. Starting the season in late September is really a random thing, one that, like the school year, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anymore. Still, it’s one of the few times I pay any attention to the big three. After watching many -but not all- of the new shows, these are the three worth keeping.

Everybody Hates Chris

Chris Rock co-created and narrates this show based on his experiences growing up poor and black in Bed-Sty in the eighties. Unlike most current family comedies -good ones anyway- this is not about a dysfunctional family. There is real warmth here, but never enough to seem cloying. Of course, it has to deliver the goods, and the pilot was very funny. What the hell is this show doing on UPN, anyway?

My Name Is Earl

Jason Lee leads a quality cast in an oddball comedy that, like network mates Scrubs and The Office, eschews the usual laugh-track predictability of most sit-coms. It comes with a dynamite-but-dangerous premise: Petty thug Earl wins the lottery, loses it , then after discovering karma (from Carson Daly, a nice touch), decides to try undo his many bad deeds. It’s brilliant because it can get into detail about the awful things this guy has done (the list is here), dangerous because this could end up in schmaltz way to easily. Unless the creators are willing to let Earl screw some things up, this show is guaranteed a happy ending every episode, and that doesn’t fit the rather edgy feel this show needs.

Obviously, I have higher hopes for this show than CBS does, as they’ve put in the dead zone of Friday night. That, coupled with a lead-in of the spectacularly awful Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle Ghost Whisperer means Threshold starts out with two strikes against it. This show deserves better. While its not perfect, I think it the best of the various Lost -inspired “mystery” shows. Carla Gugino leads a rather stock group of characters (Good-Hearted Bureaucrat, Burnout, Naïve Youngster, Anonymous Government Agent, etc) , in an ad-hoc team tying to understand a possible alien invasion. The pilot was dark and creepy, featuring at least a couple “Whoa” moments. While the characters need work, the cast is first-rate, led by Gugino, The Next Generation alumnus Brent Spiner and the brilliant Peter Dinklage. They also bring in William Mapother to out-creep his Ethan character from Lost.

Posted by Frinklin at September 23, 2005 11:53 AM | TrackBack
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